Easy threshold training – does it exist?


A day off. We had business visitors over and I took them to a restaurant. I needed the rest day. Lots of DOMS after the enthusiastic but unplanned longish run of Sunday, and my HRV data didn’t look too good either. Here you have the data from the HRV4Training app.

Look at the line of colored dots. A drop from 8.0 (which already isn’t a really good value) on Sunday morning to 7.1 on Monday morning.

Unless this is shear coincidence, the HRV4Training app is starting to produce some convincing evidence that it is able to give me a heads up on accumulated fatigue, which is great.


Although I still had DOMS from the running, and I felt tired after a long day of hosting some business visitors, I felt motivated to work out. However, I was aware of the advice that HRV4Training had given to take a light day. The session was:

  • 4x(4min+3min+2min+1min)/2min at 20/22/24/26spm

That doesn’t sound too taxing, and I was even wondering if it is really a threshold session, or more like a “black hole” session, or a slightly more intensive steady state. Well, it turned out that my heart rate got quite high. I was glad that the final 2 minute and 1 minute parts were over fast, and with every interval I had more difficulty holding good form and posture in the 20 and 22 spm bits.

Workout Summary - media/20180313-1925580o.csv
Workout Details

Looking at Work per Stroke is interesting:

Ideally, in these rate ladder sessions, you should row at constant Work per Stroke, but somehow I was increasing the work slightly at higher stroke rates. Should I have pushed harder at 20 spm?


I managed to motivate myself to make a stop at the pool on the way to work. I hit the water a bit later than normal, around 7:20am, and as I always leave the pool at 8:00, no matter how long I have been swimming, in order to arrive at work at 8:30, today I had only 45 minutes of swimming, or 1500m.

In my hurry, I had forgotten to take a towel, which I discovered while walking to the pre-swim shower. I spent a few seconds hesitating in front of the 28C shower, wondering if I should give up and just go to work. No, I was going to take that 28C shower (fresh) and start swimming, and in the first few lanes I would figure out a plan.

It turned out to be pretty easy. My cloth swimming bag proved to be a pretty effective towel.


On Tuesday, I took lots of screenshots to explain how I do the data on this workout. Here are the details. First, a picture of my erg basement:

No, that is not a very glamorous environment. It’s a small room in our basement. The black hole in the back is a door, which I open to let in fresh air. In the right corner, on the water pump box, you can see a Raspberry Pi. It is not in use at the moment. An abandoned project.

More important are the box close to the erg, with a radio/USB speaker combo, and the iPad.

The iPad is running SoundCloud in the background with appropriate workout music which is coming out of the radio speakers through the BlueTooth connection. In the foreground, I am running Painsled, which is not yet connected to the PM5. Here’s a series of pictures showing me connecting the Polar OH1 and Painsled:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You need to repeat these steps at the start of each session.

Now you’re good to go. Start pulling and the iPad with Painsled will show a copy of your parameters. This picture taken during one of the rest periods:

You can use the PM as normal. Each time you press the Menu button to start a new workout or Just Row, Painsled will save the data, but you can safely ignore this and just focus on the PM5.

After the session, it is time to get the data out of Painsled and to Rowsandall, Concept2 logbook, SportTracks and other places.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is one thing I forgot to screengrab. In Settings, you must select “CSV file” under the Painsled Export settings. When writing the email, notice that the From address is the one I use for my rowsandall.com account, that the email Subject will be copied as the workout name, and I use email commands to synchronize my data to the Concept2 logbook (“C2”) and SportTracks (“st”), and make a time chart. A few minutes later, I receive the following email:

Now, I can start looking at the workout data on rowsandall.com. Here is what I look at.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the swimming session of today, I use the Polar OH1 in standalone mode, and then sync it with the Polar Flow app after the swim. This will get the data on Strava, from where I can import them into Rowsandall.com. The only thing I do is link it to my planned session, and that’s it.